Putting the Spotlight on Alabama's Premature Births

Chappy's Deli will be serving hot breakfast to those who donate to the March of Dimes.
Chappy's Deli will be serving hot breakfast to those who donate to the March of Dimes.

MONTGOMERY, Ala., Aug. 17, 2007--

Every parent will tell you that babies are demanding.

They depend on us for everything they need to survive and thrive; but what happens when that baby isn't born a healthy 6 pounds, 8 ounces?

Each year more that 400,000 babies are born prematurely in the United States. That's roughly one in eight births.

Premies, as the babies are called, are classified as babies born before 37 weeks of pregnancy.

In Alabama the numbers are staggering. Over one-sixth of all babies born here are premature.

Those infants are at greater risk for developing serious health problems like cerebral palsy, chronic lung disease, gastrointestinal problems, mental retardation, and vision or hearing loss.

It's an issue that no parent is ever fully equipped to deal with.

The earlier the birth the greater the risk of complications.

Rick & Emily Marks have dealt with the issue first hand.

The Marks are a couple who understand the risks and pain involved with premature babies.

They lost not one- but two, children, twin boys named Charles and Lawrence, after Emily's water broke around 20 weeks into her pregnancy.

The couple soon found that they weren't alone in their grief, however.

They found support through The March of Dimes after stumbling onto the organization's Web site.

Once there, they found ways to blog to family and friends about their struggles, and they even heard from strangers offering help and support.

Mrs. Marks says,"It was just about the only thing that would comfort me at that time, I don't know what we would have done without it."

The couple recently joined the "Walk for America" campaign and helped raise over $19,000 for the March of Dimes mission.

Now there is something you can do.

Chappy's Deli is cooking up a tasty fundraising effort that will take place Friday, August 24.

Come by the Perry Hill Rd. Chappy's in Montgomery from 5:30am to 8:30am, and for a $5 minimum donation you'll recieve a great breakfast!

The flavor of bacon, eggs, sausage, grits and a bisquit are the sweet tastes you'll get for helping save a life.

Web Producer: John Shryock